MENTORING AND EMPLOYEE PRODUCTIVITY IN ORGANIZATION
# Wichey Amanda
# Ernestina Amana Akpana
The study examined mentoring and employee productivity in organization. Employees are integral component of any organization. This implies that the success of any organization to a large extent depends on how productive the workers are. Mentoring which can be seen as career support plays an important role on the productivity of the employees in the organization. It is against this backdrop that this study examines how mentoring impact employee productivity. The study made use of qualitative method and draws its arguments mainly from secondary data. The findings from available literatures revealed amongst others that mentorship programs play an important role in employee performance and are enhanced through knowledge transfer and career development. The study recommends organizations to create the atmosphere that encourages mentoring for the workers in the organization so as to ensure organizational longevity and employee productivity.
Key Words: Mentoring, Organization, Employees, Productivity
In this current business world, trends and organizational practices have completely changed. The ancient practice and methods application in doing business has been replaced by modern and accepted techniques and methods for performing various routine activities, and they are becoming forceful need of the time. Employees are the bedrock of every organization but steadiness in performing to a lofty extent relies heavily on their environment and assistance they attain from it in the shape of supervisory /managerial or support from more experience employees, consistence learning from seniors, training and development programs and peer support.
Within the context of this study, help by one person to another in making significant transitions in knowledge, work or thinking has been conceptualized operationally as mentoring. Mentoring normally tries to cover the activities often designed and encouraged by management to develop its personnel and ensure that they improve and maintain the organization’s competitive advantage (Okurame, 2013). A dependent (mentee) and mentor should realize that result oriented mentoring and training is a time taking process. So, it asks the mentor to focus mainly on junior (mentees) as this monotonous relation brings the benefit for an institute, a firm or an organization (Throndyke, 2008).
This study dimensionalized mentoring in terms of career support, psychological support and information sharing. Career support as a dimension of mentoring seeks to address the issue of sponsorship, coaching, exposure to important contacts and resources, visibility, facilitating protection of the mentee and assignment of challenging work to enhance the mentee’s calling. It is concerned with people’s future that deals with the skills they want to develop, what they want to achieve at work and as a person as well as their future employability in a rapidly changing labour market. Providing career opportunities is one of the key practices which influence employee’s productivities and organizational performance.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
It appears that one of the greatest problems facing manufacturing firms is low productivity. Paint manufacturing firms are not left out. Little or no mentoring has caused low productivity in paint manufacturing firms, this is because mentoring is among the few tools used/needed for preparing tomorrows’ skilled employees and is also used to strengthen organizational capabilities, intelligence, build organization knowledge, and sustain the organization competitive advantage (Adeyemi 2013). The researcher has also observed that some paint manufacturing firms in Port Harcourt, Rivers State concentrates little in career support, psychological support and information sharing, which has caused low employees’ productivity as indicated by poor output quality, low output quantity and lateness of output. Employees are not properly mentored. This kind of unbalanced mentoring or reform has not achieved the predicted results (Stonner et al., 2018; Opiyo, 2019).
Another issue that necessitated this study is the dearth of documented empirical studies on how mentoring in terms of career support, psychological support, and information sharing influence employees’ productivity in paint manufacturing firms in Port Harcourt. Therefore, there is need to close this knowledge gap.
The study is guided by the following research questions:
- Does mentoring in organization influence the quality of employee’s work?
- Does mentoring in organization influence the quantity of employee‘s output?
- How does career support influence employees’ timeliness in the organization?
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The study is aimed at achieving the following objectives:
- To examine the extent to which mentoring influences employees’ work quality in paint manufacturing firms in Port Harcourt.
- To examine the extent to which mentoring influences quantity of employee’s output in paint manufacturing firms in Port Harcourt.
- To examine the extent to which career support influences employees’ timeliness in paint manufacturing firms in Port Harcourt.
LITERATURE REVIEW/THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
Mentoring is one of the greatest tools in developing and empowering individual competence. The term mentoring originated from Greek Mythology in Homer’s Epic Poem titled “The Odyssey”. In this poem, Odysseus, king of Ithaca went to fight in the Tronjan War and entrusted his kingdom to mentors, who served as the teacher of Odysseus son Telemachus. Mentor’s task was to educate, train and develop the youngster to fulfill his birthright and become king of Ithaca (Kaye & Jacobson 1995).
To meet the continuity challenge facing business world, strategies are put in place by organizations to mentor their employees to be best of themselves and for the organization. Paint manufacturing firms in Port Harcourt are not left out. Adeyemi (2013) postulates that mentoring is among the few tools used/needed for preparing tomorrows’ skilled employees and is also used to strengthen organizational capabilities, intelligence, build organization knowledge, and sustain the organization competitive advantage. The term mentoring has been used to describe many different types of relationships in the research training context. This includes academic advising, research or laboratory supervision, evaluation, informal support, and career coaching (Jacobi, 1991).
Mentoring promotes diversity by providing equal opportunity for every employee to grow professionally and by eliminating barriers to equity in opportunities for development. Schlee (2000) posit that tends in equipping, developing, shaping and preparing mentee on how to accomplish task with minimum or no supervision. Mentoring is use as a technique of attaching the higher skilled or experienced person with the goal of making lesser skilled person grows and develops specific competencies. Mentoring does not only support in polishing the abilities and competencies of the individuals and groups but also provides positive alteration of employees’ skills to their improved performance and organizational outcomes (Ahmad &Shahzad 2014).
Organizations especially paint manufacturing firms in Port Harcourt consider mentoring as a cost saving activity as its managing is less expensive. It provides high return in the form of delivery and transferring of knowledge and educating each other about how to achieve the organizational goals. Seniors and professionals in the form of mentors share their knowledge and information and experience with mentees which creates and develop in them a deeper sense of loyalty to the organization and increases their productivity (Hutcheson, 2006; Ofobruko & Nwakoby, 2013). Thus, mentoring nourishes and relaxes the employees’ behaviour as it guides them to develop and adjust themselves in their working environment. Consequently, it enables them to provide positive feedback. Planned mentoring ask for reduction in cost as in these programs mentors and responsibility perform in their workplace and, mentor with high competencies and position in hierarchy behaves as a model of changing attitudes and learning (Benabou, 2000; Indermun, et al., 2014).
Mentoring consists of deliberate relationships in the workplace targeted at helping less experienced workers learn from senior or more experienced colleagues in the workplace (Ayşe et al.,2013; Akpan et al.,2017). It is a human resource management intervention aimed that enabling younger (newer) employees get career support, psychological support, and information sharing from more experienced workers or managers in the organization. Career support function includes sponsorship, coaching, exposure to important contacts and resources, visibility, facilitating protection of the mentee and assignment of challenging work to enhance the mentee’s career (Noe, 1988; Kram, 1983 in Ofobruku & Nwakoby, 2015). Thus, Mentoring covers the activities often designed and encouraged by management to develop its personnel and ensure that they improve and maintain the organizational competitive advantage (Okurame, 2013).
DIMENSIONS OF MENTORING
(i) Career Support:
Career is a complex concept. It could be about meaning, sense of purpose and direction, which includes ideas of progression and development both at work and at a personal level. In this way, it embraces ideas about lifelong learning as well as skill improvement. It is also concerned with people’s future that deals with the skills they want to develop, what they want to achieve at work and as a person as well as their future employability in a rapidly changing labour market. Greenhaus et al., (2018) posit that career is best described as “the pattern of work-related experiences that span the course of one’s life.
Career support as one of the dimensions of mentoring as used within the context of this study, is interested in addressing the sponsorship, coaching, exposure to important contacts and resources, visibility, facilitating protection of the mentee and assignment of challenging work to enhance the mentee’s calling. Organizations need to realize that career support for their workforce is a way of helping to attract and retain the best people: by recognizing and responding to the needs of employees, they will get the best out of them. More effective guidance will assist the development of a knowledge economy and benefit individuals, employers and society at large. It will, however, require a cultural shift in management behaviour in organizations towards self-management (Hackman, 1986). Career support is a major tool for attracting, motivating and retaining good quality and productive employees in paint manufacturing firm in Port Harcourt.
(ii) Psychological Support
Psychological Support as one of the dimensions of mentoring denotes a situation where co-workers and supervisors are supportive of employees’ psychological and mental health concerns that is to say it is usually an informal relationship that exists between the mentor and the mentee within an organization. In paint manufacturing firms in Port Harcourt, the more employees feel that they have psychological support from management, the greater they become productive, and increase in their job performance in their respective dispensation. In addition, the greater the support, the stronger, the likelihood that employees will seek and receive appropriate help for mental health and emotional issues, and return to work if they have an extended absence as a result of depression or any other emotional factor (Gilbert & Bilske, 2012). They further stressed that Psychological Support is equally important because the employees’ perceptions and awareness of organizational support is greatly addressed. When employees perceive organizational support, it means they believe their organizational values and contributions, being committed in ensuring their psychological well-being and provides meaningful supports if this well-being is compromised.
Mentors engage in psychological support when they listen and show their subordinates they care about their work-life demands. As human beings with peculiar personal issues of life which are capable of interfering with their job performance, employees feel free to share such issues with their mentors if they see them as supportive. In such moments, supportive mentors psychologically, often show some level of empathy as they listen to their mentees possibly sob out their psychological burdens. Mentors who are psychologically supportive listen and use soft words to calm their worried mentees.
Rhoades & Eisenberger (2002) averred that some organizations, the most important aspect of psychological support may be that it is especially helpful in protecting against distressing situations at work. When adequate psychological support is present in organization such as manufacturing firms, employee’s experiencing psychological distress will be more likely to seek, and receive, appropriate help. They will be better equipped to stay safe and productive at work while they recover, and, if work absence is required, will be more likely to have a quicker and more sustainable work return hence being committed to their job.
(iii) Information Sharing
Information sharing is synonymous to knowledge sharing. Thus, Knowledge is regarded as the most critical resource of the economy’s and a company’s primary source of production and value. Nachimuthu (2006) pointed that knowledge is very important in the modern uncertain economy and it is the sure source of lasting competitive advantage when it is used by an organization collectively, efficiently, and ensuring that it is readily acquired when needed. Knowledge has been accepted as a key strategic resource that allows firms to achieve sustainable competitive advantages in today’s dynamic competitive environment. Knowledge is information in action and a dynamic process in which data and information are continuously collected and analyzed to create more value for business decision making (Lee & Yang, 2000; Anantatmula, 2007). In the view of Lin (2007), knowledge in organizational setting is described as an indication of a firm’s intellectual capital: this includes work-related experience, expertise, know-how, and best practices that can be acquired and shared. Calo (2008) noted that knowledge is what employees such as secretaries need to enhance their job performance. Thus, he pointed out two kind of knowledge such as explicit knowledge and tacit knowledge.
Explicit knowledge: Explicit knowledge is defined as highly, observable and can be easily transferred within the organization or between individuals. Explicit knowledge is more precisely and formally articulated, although removed from the original context of creation or use (e.g. an abstract mathematical formula derived from physical experiments or a training manual describing how to close a sale).
Tacit knowledge: Tacit knowledge refers to as knowledge gained through experience and it is difficult to express and formalize (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2007). Tacit knowledge as being highly invincible and confining in the mind of a person, and as a result it is very difficult to articulate or externalize and hence cannot be easily diffused. This knowledge is based on personal insights, intuition, and personal skills and is shared, more dominantly, through direct person-to-person contacts (Edvardsson, 2008).
Productivity is a measure of the quantity and quality of work done, considering the cost of the resources used (Millar, 2017). Ali and Opatha (2008), employee productivity can be measured in terms of responsiveness, morale, quality and quantity of production, customer satisfactions. Productivity is the amount of work produced in a given period of time. Productivity relates to the person’s ability to produce the standard amount or number of products, services or outcomes as described in a work description. According to Mathis and John (2017), productivity is a measure of the quantity and quality of work done, considering the cost and human resources utilized. The more productive organization is, the better its competitive advantage. This is because of the efficiency of the resources that have been used.
McNamara (2018) further affirms that, results are usually the final and specific outputs desired from the employee. They may be in terms of financial accomplishments, impact on a community; and so, whose results are expressed in terms of cost, quality, quantity or time. McNamara also asserted that measuring productivity involves determining the length of time that an average employee needs to generate a given level of production. It could also be the amount of time that a group of employees spends on certain activities such as production, travel, or idle time spent waiting for materials or replacing broken equipment. The method can determine whether the employees are spending too much time away from production on other aspects of the job that can be controlled by the business.
Employee productivity may be hard to measure, but it has a direct effect on a company’s profits. An employer fills his staff with productivity in mind and can get a handle on a worker’s capabilities during the initial job interview. Yet, there are several factors on the job that help maximize what an employee does on the job (Lake, 2016). Brady (2008) expresses that, perhaps none of the resources used for productivity in organizations are so closely scrutinized as the human resources. Many of the activities undertaken in an HR System are designed to influence individual or organizational productivity. Pay, appraisal systems, training, selection, job design and compensation are HR activities that are directly concerned with productivity. Furthermore, Bernardin (2017) maintains that controlling labour costs and increasing productivity through the establishment of clearer linkages between pay and performance are deemed to be crucial component of human resource management (HRM) so as to achieve competitive advantage. In addition, increased concerns over productivity and meeting customer requirements have prompted renewed interest in methods designed to motivate employees to be more focused on meeting (or exceeding) customer requirements and increasing productivity. It is not considered in isolation but is considered based on the interrelationship with, performance and profitability. Performance appraisal drives employees in a firm to produce excellent standards of performance and even beyond the expectations. The terms production and productivity are often used interchangeably. But there is difference between the two. Production refers to the total output of all employees at a point of time. Productivity refers to the output relative to the inputs per person or system with reference to a point of time. Stated more clearly, productivity refers to the amount of goods and services produced with the resources used. Employee productivity is the quality and quantity expected in a particular job from an employee to perform their job well, which is most of the time determined, by motivation and the will and ability of the individual employee to do the job.
MEASUREMENT OF EMPLOYEE PRODUCTIVITY
(i) Work Quality
Quality is the ongoing process of building and sustaining relationships by assessing, anticipating setting standard, and fulfilling stated and implied needs. Quality means that the organization’s culture is defined by and supports the constant attainment of customer satisfaction through an integrated system of tools, techniques, and training (Sashkin & Kiser 1993). Furthermore, a manager who is deeply concerned on work quality might choose to initials principle in terms of losses to reduce the tendency of loss averse employees to consecrate on quantity rather than quality. Work quality is a management technique used to communicate to workers what is required to produce, the desired quality of products and services and to influence worker actions to complete tasks according to the quality specifications. Akin and Hopelain (1986) in Jahan (2019), defined work quality as the key elements such as right types of human resources, identification with the job, teamwork, trust and support, status determined by knowledge of job and performance, support for accomplishment and autonomous use of skills.
Glover and Siu (2016) argued that work quality or quality of output is the establishment of new factories and machinery which sufficient in itself to ensure adequately. The work quality depends on the contribution, cooperation and commitment of employees and their organizations (Wilkinson, 1998; Oliver and Wilkinson, 2016).
(ii) Quantity of Output
Quantity of output is essential for improving results; and in order to perform effectively, clarity is needed. Employees know their expected results coupled with the risk involved in performing those tasks. They are not producing the right goods and services but contribute insufficiently to the productivity of the organization. Working effectively are clear signs of a good productive. As long as employees know what their tasks are, the best way is to perform their duties, and what the priority for each task, they will feel less pressure while working and will be more productive. Having a clear picture of their role paves the way for effective working.
The quantity of goods or services produced in a given time period, by a firm, industry, or country, whether consumed or used for further production. According to Deborah (2008), Outputs are important products, services, profits, and revenues: the what. Outcomes create meanings, relationships, and differences: The Why. Outputs, such as revenue and profit, enable us to fund outcomes; but without outcomes, there is no need for outputs. Employee productivity and quantity of output has been a focus of theoretical and empirical economic research for decades (Laffont & Martimort 2019; Syverson, 2011). Also, is the quantity of goods or services produced in a given time period, by a firm, industry, or country, whether consumed or used for further production. Production is profitable when the firm’s optimal quantity of output at the market price results in (at least) a normal amount.
Timeliness refers to the speed of dissemination of the products to be produce i.e., the lapse of time between the end of a reference period (or a reference deadline) and dissemination of the product. According to AFREC (2008), timeliness is a provide parameters for how often, or within what time frame, outputs will be delivered. It also measured by turnaround times, waiting or response time either deliver services or production yearly or quarterly. Timeliness of Output; Timeliness and Punctuality is a single entity. If your employees have differing levels of productivity and timeliness, you’ll need to know how to phrase your employee appraisals. In order for the written feedback on your evaluations to have a long-lasting impact, you need to focus on the individual performance factors that determine the quality and quantity of your employees’ work. Given that requests can arrive from both data sources and workers, the request scheduler must very carefully balance the requirements of staff requests and their deadlines against the need to keep the standards reflects the source up-to-date. Missing deadlines might mean missing opportunities to be productive operating on stale data might mean making wrong decisions.
Opara and Odu, (2019) examined mentoring and employees’ commitment in manufacturing firms in Port Harcourt. The objective of the study was to examine how dimensions of mentoring such as career support, psychological support, and knowledge sharing influence employee commitment. The study adopted cross-sectional survey research design. The population of the study consisted of five hundred and fifty (550) staff in selected twenty-two (22) Manufacturing firms in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. The Krejcie and Morgan Sample Size Determination Table of 1970 was used to obtain a size of 226 respondents. Out of 226 copies of the validated questionnaire distributed, 181 copies were retrieved. Bivariate analysis (test of hypotheses) was done using SPSS Version 22 at 0.05 level of significance. The analyses of data revealed that dimensions of mentoring such as career support, psychological support, and knowledge sharing are significantly and positively correlated with employees’ commitment. The study concluded that mentoring ignites and sustains employees’ commitment. Consequently, the study recommended among other things that experienced managers and superior officers should be empathetic and make themselves accessible to less experienced colleagues to cement mentor-mentee relationship.
Stona (2011) examined the impact of mentoring on knowledge sharing in the steel manufacturing industry. The study sets out to determine the relationships between formal mentoring, informal mentoring, knowledge sharing, organizational rewards, enjoyment in helping others and knowledge self-efficacy and also to determine whether people who have and have not experienced formal and informal mentoring experience these variables differently. A cross-sectional survey design was employed to obtain the desired research objectives. We recruited a convenience sample after permission was granted to conduct the research. Participation was voluntary and anonymously. A total of 300 participants were targeted and a response rate of 45 % was achieved. The findings indicated that people in formal mentoring program enjoy helping others; informal mentoring is positively related to organizational rewards; knowledge sharing was found to be positively significantly related to enjoyment in helping others and knowledge self-efficacy; and that people with high knowledge self-efficacy are more oriented to helping others.
Okediji, Nnedum, and Enwongo (2013) carried out a research study on mentoring and the work related outcome constructs. The study deals with mentoring relationship relevance in the field of organizational behaviour. It explores the theoretical functionalism of effective mentoring ideology in the academic literature, the plausible influence of mentoring relationship was underscored in the conceptual exploration of mentoring with core work related outcome variables. Academic efforts to synthesize mentoring as the organizational catalyst that selectively enhance the integration of the individual into the focal work organization and improve employees’ performance were agreed to rest on career support and psychosocial support, the both were investigated and analyzed, the study concludes that mentoring improve employees performance.
Ofobruku and Nwakoby (2015) examined effects of mentoring on employees’ performance in selected family business in Abuja, Nigeria. This research investigated the effects of mentoring on employees’ performance in family business. The construction Industry in Abuja was critically investigated. The study employed a survey research design using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. The population was the construction industry in Abuja. Responses from three hundred and sixty-seven (367) construction employees were analyzed. The data collected were analyzed using Pearson correlation coefficient statistics technique. The findings of the study revealed that mentoring had positive effects on employees’ performance; career support had more positive effect on employees’ performance than psychosocial support. This research concluded that performances among employees are based on the degree of mentorship program put in place in the organization.
Mundia and Iravo (2014) investigated Role of Mentoring Programs on the Employee Performance in hospitality Organizations in Kaduna state, Nigeria. The study highlights that the mentoring program is an important employee development method practiced in successful organizations. The ability of mentors either informally or formally to implement the mentoring program activities may lead to higher employees performance, Stratified random sampling was used to select the subjects included in the sample. The data was analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively by use of descriptive and inferential statistics to measure the formulated objectives so as to establish the relationship between the independent and dependent variables. The population was the hospitality organizations in Kaduna state Nigeria. Responses from one hundred and sixty-seven (167) hospitality employees were analyzed. The data collected were analyzed using Pearson correlation coefficient statistics technique. The study established that mentorship programs play an important role in employee performance and are enhanced through knowledge transfer, career development guidance and skills enhancement in mentoring in hospitality Organizations in Kaduna state, Nigeria.
This work is anchored on the Social Exchange Theory. The Social Exchange Theory was propounded in 1958 by George Casper Homans (Olannye, 2014). Social exchange theory postulates that “give and take” forms the basis of almost all relationships though their proportions might vary as per the intensity of the relationships. The main assumptions of the theory are as follows:
- In a relationship, every individual has expectations from his/her partners. The extent to which such expectations are satisfied determines the strength and survival of the relationship;
- Good relationships are mutually beneficial and not supposed to be one sided. An individual invests his time and energy in relationship only when he gets something out of corresponding or higher value from it (Olannye, 2014).
Less experienced employees have the social expectation of being guided and encouraged by superior and more experienced managers (Neil, 2018). Going by the assumptions of the Social Exchange Theory, the extent to which experienced managers and superior officers share their wisdom, exchange, advice, and career support to less experienced subordinates, the happier and more committed mentees become. On the other hand, dearth of meaning mentoring relationship is capable of making workers feel alienated and deprived thereby leading to dwindling commitment level (Ayşe, 2013; Mba & Godday, 2015; Ofobruku & Nwakoby, 2015; Akpan, 2017). Thus, the Social Exchange Theory predicts employee productivity as a reciprocal response to satisfying mentoring efforts in paint manufacturing firms in Port Harcourt.
The study adopted qualitative method, this is because the study draws its arguments basically from secondary source, which include textbooks, journals, etc. Multiple secondary data was used to ensure that the study is reliable and valid.
The study established that mentorship programs play an important role in employee performance and are enhanced through knowledge transfer, career development. The findings also revealed that mentoring enhance the integration of the individual into the focal work organization and improve employees’ performance. Furthermore, the findings revealed that the dimensions of mentoring such as career support, psychological support, and knowledge sharing enhances employees’ commitment.
Mentoring relates with employee productivity in that career is a complex concept; it delineates meaning, sense of purpose and direction, which includes ideas of progression and development both at work and at a personal level. In this way, it embraces ideas about lifelong learning as well as skill improvement; therefore when at the workplace there is concern directed towards the individuals relative to their career which undoubtedly will engender increased productivity within the organization.
The study concludes that psychological support correlate significantly with employee productivity; in the sense, when mentors engage in psychological support when they listen and show their subordinates they care about their work-life demands.
The study recommends as follows:
(i) Organizations to create atmosphere that encourages mentoring for the workers in the organization so as to ensure organizational longevity and employee productivity.
(ii) Mentors should engage in psychological support and strive to always listen and show their subordinates that they care about their work-life demands.
(iii) In addition, the greater the support, the stronger the likelihood that employees will seek and receive appropriate help for mental health and emotional issues, and return to work if they have an extended absence as a result of depression or any other emotional factor
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